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2015 Featured Guest and Panelist George R.R. Martin

photo of the Nacogdoches Film Fest committee photo credit: Anoush Abrar

The 2015 Nacogdoches Film Festival is excited to announce featured guest, screenwriter and producer George R.R. Martin.

About the Guest

George R.R. Martin was born September 20, 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies, dramatic readings included. Later he became a comic book fan and collector in high school, and began to write fiction for comic fanzines (amateur fan magazines). Martin sold his first short story, “The Hero,” to Galaxy, a science fiction magazine, which was published in 1971. Continuing to write short stories, he released a collection of his tales as A Song for Lya and Others in 1976. His debut novel, Dying of the Light, came out the following year. Martin also served as an editor on numerous book projects, including New Voices in Science Fiction (1977) and the Wild Cards series.

While he became well regarded in the fantasy and science fiction worlds, Martin had yet to achieve a huge commercial success by the 1980s. He did, however, attract some attention from Hollywood. He worked as story editor for a remake of the old favorite Twilight Zone in 1986, and then became involved with the series Beauty and the Beast. Writing for television posed certain challenges for Martin. “Whenever I would turn in a script, the producers would always say to me: George, this is wonderful, but it would cost five times our budget to produce it,” he said in a National Public Radio interview. Weary of the limitations of television, Martin embarked on a new writing project in the early 1990s—a fantasy series inspired by medieval England’s Wars of the Roses.

A Song of Ice and Fire

The first installment of A Song of Ice and Fire may not have been an overnight success, but the strong word of mouth boosted sales as the series progressed. By the fourth volume, 2005’s A Feast for Crows, Martin found his work at the top of the best-sellers list. His books were introduced to an even larger audience with the critically acclaimed television adaptation of Game of Thrones, which debuted in 2011. Later that year, Martin published the fifth title in the series, A Dance with Dragons. Eager fans from around the world snapped up the new book, creating yet another best-selling novel.

While often compared to J. R. R. Tolkien, Martin writes a grittier, earthier type of fantasy fiction than the man who created The Lord of the Rings. Martin’s Westeros is mainly populated by humans who live morally complex lives and follow their own agendas. And his plots are masterfully handled, much like the game of chess he so enjoys. As one critic wrote, “Martin is a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.”

As an author, Martin has also shown no mercy to his characters, killing off main characters and other favorites unexpectedly. Martin feels that he has “a certain moral obligation” to reflect the reality of war in his fantasy tales. “People die in wars. People get maimed in wars, and many of them are good, likable people who you would like to not see die,” Martin once explained.